‘A really bad problem’: Water quality report finds 3 Hawaii beaches with consistently high bacteria levels

New data from the Surfrider Foundation shows chronic pollution problems at beaches across the state.
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 6:32 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 13, 2022 at 3:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - New data from the Surfrider Foundation shows chronic pollution problems at beaches across the state.

The 2021 Clean Water Report from the Blue Water Task Force highlights results from beach water quality monitoring programs in costal states like Hawaii and around the country.

The report also lists ten priority beaches that are consistently measuring high bacteria levels elevated above state health standards. Three Hawaii beaches are on that list: Maliko Bay on Maui, Chocolate’s Surf Break on Oahu, and Nawiliwili on Kauai.

High bacteria counts are usually indicators of the presence of human or animal waste in the water. The Surfrider Foundation says the problem is thousands of cesspools across the state.

“This is a really bad problem. This is why Surfrider has been working on this for a number of years along with partner organizations. We have 88,000 cesspools in Hawaii, and they’re contributing over 53 million gallons of polluted wastewater every single day into our environment,” said Lauren Blickley, Hawaii Regional Manager for the Surfrider Foundation.

“The problem isn’t being remedied quickly enough. This is a major issue and we’re hoping that the more that we push this data and highlight this issue for people that politicians will be able to step up and really pass the laws and the regulations that we need to be able to support the conversion of cesspools.”

Blickley says the last legislative session was productive when it comes to helping homeowners convert cesspools — including a bill that provides grants of up to $20,000 to qualifying households to do just that.

To learn more about some of those programs and to read the complete report, click here.

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